Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy April, and welcome back!

As promised, I’m resuming the blog today after going on hiatus during most of March due to a personal loss that pretty much sidelined me.

The time off has given me some time to think about the blog’s format and content. Some of what follows is a change from the past. Some of it is not. Bear with me, please.

1.) This is a multi-topic blog. Yes, I understand that all the SEO pundits say you’re supposed to blog exclusively about coin collecting, travel to Southeast Asia, or politics from a particular partisan viewpoint. (I also understand that mommy bloggers are supposed to be “hot” now. And, of course, let’s not forget those ever-popular gadget and Internet marketing blogs! Surely the world needs one more blog about gadgets or online marketing strategies!)

Here is my perspective: If you want to read specifically and deeply about one narrow topic, you’ll frequent a large, dedicated, multi-author blog. Or maybe you’ll buy a book about the topic.

The personal blog is supposed to provide an individual perspective. Few individuals think exclusively about one topic. I’m no exception in this regard.

This doesn't mean that there are no limits or guidelines: Topics you are unlikely to find here include: video game reviews (I don’t play them), progressive politics (I’m a conservative), and animal husbandry (I grew up in the suburbs.).

I am also unlikely to write about home beer brewing, needlepoint techniques, or college basketball rankings. And needless to say, I’m not going to provide much competition for the mommy bloggers out there.

What you will find: posts about writing, literature, culture, history, economics, and current events from a conservative-centrist perspective.

2.) I’m more of an essayist than a blogger. I know that sounds horribly pretentious, and I don’t mean it that way.

What I mean, simply, is that I prefer to write longer, more extensive pieces, versus short ephemeral posts about news-driven, ephemeral topics.

This means that while I’ll be posting multiple times per week, I probably won’t post multiple times per day.

I realize that the trend is toward the news-driven blog that constantly bombards readers with “updates”.

And there is nothing wrong with that—but that’s not my bailiwick.

3.) Comment threads reduce the distance that my muse requires

After experimenting with wide-open, unrestricted comment threads, moderated comment threads, and no comment threads, I find that I prefer the last option.

Once again, I hope this doesn't strike anyone as arrogant or elitist. I would be the first to admit that many of you are a lot smarter than I am.

Seth Godin, a far better known blogger who also doesn't allow comments, wrote the following back in 2006:

“…some of my readers are itching to find a comment field on my posts from now on. I can't do that for you, alas, and I thought I'd tell you why.  
I think comments are terrific, and they are the key attraction for some blogs and some bloggers. Not for me, though. First, I feel compelled to clarify or to answer every objection or to point out every flaw in reasoning. Second, it takes way too much of my time to even think about them, never mind curate them. And finally, and most important for you, it permanently changes the way I write. Instead of writing for everyone, I find myself writing in anticipation of the commenters. I'm already itching to rewrite my traffic post below. So, given a choice between a blog with comments or no blog at all, I think I'd have to choose the latter.  
So, bloggers who like comments, blog on. Commenters, feel free. But not here. Sorry.”

I can’t really improve on Seth Godin’s explanation of the same policy. My comment policy is merely an acknowledgement of the fact that for me, writing is a solitary activity, not a constant, unfettered social collaboration between myself and the world’s 2.92 billion Internet users.

That said, I do encourage you to comment—if the spirit moves you—on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, or any of the numerous places online where people can discuss various topics. This is no attempt to limit anyone’s free speech in general, or to deny anyone the right to criticize me, refute my arguments, or call me out.

And should you really want to shout back at me personally and directly, you can do that via email.

4.) I also write fiction

I don’t think that a blog is necessarily the best venue for full-length works of fiction. But I’ll continue to post the occasional short story and novel excerpt here.

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So there we have it. Happy April, everyone, and many thanks to loyal readers past, present, and future.